The first time I went snorkeling, I was super psyched up for it. My grandparents kept telling me about all the fish I’d see, and because I wanted to be a marine biologist at the time, I felt like my dream was coming true. That is, until we went to the aquarium.
At the aquarium I got to see all the fish and sea creatures I would see snorkeling in person, a sort of sneak peek behind glass. You’d think this would make me even more excited, and it did at first, but then I came across the moray eel exhibit. I read on the plaque about how morays hide in little crevasses in the rocks and coral, and then strike out quick and fast to grab their prey. I looked at the eel, at his big head and gaping jaws, those lifeless eyes that seemed to stare at me no matter where I moved. Suddenly, I didn’t want to go snorkeling anymore. I was convinced that I was going to be attacked by an eel, my little ankle caught in his jaws.
During my second visit, at age 15, I went snorkeling twice. One was an official, paid-for excursion. My whole family and I got onto a boat to go out the tiny island of Molokini, where there were promised to be lots of fish, turtles, and maybe even sharks. Unlike last time, I wasn’t even worried about the sharks (at least, not after our guide assured us they were small and uninterested in humans). The best part about that excursion was that the company had high-prescription goggles for me to wear! I would actually be able to see all the fish!
Unfortunately, the fish were really far down below us. If you are a good diver, this might not pose a problem, but I couldn’t dive down far enough to get a good look. My ears would start to hurt. Everything was a blue-green color, and it was somewhat murky. I did pick out lots of fish and even some turtles, but it wasn’t nearly as colorful and impressive as when I had snorkeled off the beach during my last visit.
At the bottom of the rocks, the part that fell into the sea, we found the perfect snorkeling spot. Shallow and much warmer than the spot by Molokini, this snorkeling spot was small but filled with dozens of brightly colored fish. They were so close I could touch them—if they would just hold still. Colorful coral wiggled in the waves, and then three sea turtles lazily swam up to join us. They were half my size, with shells covered in algae. Although I was concerned about being bitten accidentally, I grabbed some seaweed and held it out to one of the turtles, who happily chomped it up without going near my fingers. I think they must be used to all the humans in that spot. I thought to myself, “This is the best place to snorkel, and we didn’t even have to pay extra!”
Where was the best snorkeling you’ve ever experienced? Do you prefer excursions or finding your own spots? Are you scared of anything in the water, like I was? (Seriously, moray eels are creepy!) Anyway, here are some more photos from our visit. All of the photos in this post are